Telebridge between Tbilisi and Washington
19 April, 2012
Telebridge between Tbilisi and Washington

 

“US talks equally with Georgian Opposition and Authorities”

Several days ago, a Tbilisi-Washington telebridge was held in the American Embassy in Georgia, featuring representatives of NGOs operating in Georgia and Georgian politicians on one side of the world and leading US governmental officials on other side. Both sides discussed pre-election processes and situation about the civil society in Georgia. We talked to Davit Usupashvili, Chair of the Republican Party, who was there among the participants.

 

 

It was first time that a telebridge

was initiated by the American Embassy and Government to allow the American side to get familiarized with the views of the opposition ahead of the forthcoming meeting with the Authorities. Washington was represented by the assistant to the US Secretary of State who is simultaneously responsible for the region and several other American state officials working on Caucasian and Georgian affairs. They were quick to note at the beginning of the discussion that they were fully aware of the major predicaments faced by the opposition. We talked about media problems remarking that we should not wait till one month or two before the elections when media monitoring would start and National Broadcasters would start highlighting political events with a slightly more balanced approach. The second important issue that we raised was the need to set up a monitoring group to control activities of law enforcers. In addition, we touch on the topic of the voluntary reserve that serves the purpose of mobilizing votes for the Authorities and pressuring citizens to this end. Representatives of Georgian Authorities are in for intense talks with their colleagues in Washington.

Q: Did the participants reviewed topics such as citizenship for Ivanishvili and alleged threats to his life?

A: We examined the issue of Ivanishvili’s citizenship in detail. Giorgi Targamadze, the author of the recent initiative, explained that it was the only way out of the deadlock. I and Irakli Alasania, however, asserted that citizenship does belong to Bidzina Ivanishvili by law. Pressing for constitutional changes in order to solve unreal problems should not serve interests of any one concerned with the situation in the state. This is not the way issues should be handled. This is not the right context to talk about constitutional changes in. I stated that even if the issue were not related to Ivanishvili specifically, such changes are wrong as such. There is no precedent of changes in the democratic world when a citizen of one country becomes MP, PM or President of another country. The authors of this idea should realize the extent of damage that such changes may bring to the country. We pointed out that the Authorities are trying to sweep Bidzina Ivanishvili off the political arena. Well, we did not tackle the threat of his physical elimination.

This telebridge is a proof that the US talks equally with Georgian Opposition and Authorities. How else could it expressly show that it does not give preference to Saakashvili and his political team? Yet, it does not likewise mean the United States is going to back the new coalition. Basically, Mikheil Saakashvili will not have their political support. Next week representatives of Georgian Dream will visit the United States. As for me, I would have meetings at the European Parliament. Being in the focus of the external world is important for holding transparent elections.

 

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